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Environmental & Pollution Hair Loss

WHAT IS ENVIRONMENTAL HAIR LOSS?

Your surrounding play a heavy hand in determining your well-being. While some environments invite calm and serenity, others can generate a toxic shock on our emotional and physical health. Is that the only impact our environment has on our health? To define environmental hair loss, we have to examine two factor:

1. Our physical environment
2. Environmental factors that cause hair loss


Our physical environment is the atmosphere where we spend most of our time; at home or work. Where we spend the majority of our day can either improve or damage our health and well-being. That's because each surrounding contains unique environmental stressors like toxins, mold, pollution, air particles, moisture, humidity or dryness. Exposure to environmental triggers can cause a biological reaction within the body, and this response manifests itself as dryness, itching, scalp pain, irritation, and hair loss.

The second form of environmental hair loss occurs as a result of extreme and sudden physical shock. Examples include chemotherapy treatments, excessive dieting, medical illness, or any stressor that prohibits hair cells from dividing and follicles from growing hair.

can the environment cause hair loss?

From climate to pollution to medical illness, there are a multitude of environmental triggers that can cause hair loss.

Air Pollution

The negative effects of air pollution are universally known. Yet startling evidence reveals that indoor pollution can be just as toxic to our health. And what part of our body lives at the frontline of air particles, pollution, and dust? Our skin and hair. Our hair follicles react to pollutants in the same way they do in cases of Androgenetic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss) and Alopecia Areata (Sudden Hair Loss). Hair fails out in patches and can lead to irreversible cellular and follicular damage. Cigarette smoke is another pollutant that can dry or damage hair follicles.

Extreme Dieting

Diets that emphasize severe calorie restriction, linear nutrition, or sudden and drastic changes to food intake can send the body into shock. One of the ways the body responds is by going into self-preservation mode. Instead of feeding the minimal supply of nutrients to the nutrient-dependent hair follicles, the body cuts funding and allocates nutrients to life-giving functions. In other words, the body encounters an environmental trigger to the sudden and abrupt deprivation of nutrients.

Medical Illness

Cancer and autoimmune diseases are the most common diseases associated with environmental hair loss. Hair loss can occur as a symptom of an autoimmune disease like lupus, or as a side effect of the treatment, such as chemotherapy for cancer.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF hair loss due to the environment

The first signs of environmental hair loss appear differently for each person, depending on the exact variable that’s causing the hair loss. Symptoms include:

• Diffuse thinning (overall hair loss) across the scalp
• Patchy hair fall
• Severe scalp dryness, itching, and irritation
• Oily scalp
• Inflammation and redness at the root
• Total hair loss
• Dandruff

environmental-RELATED HAIR LOSS DIAGNOSIS

Your dermatologist or general practitioner will conduct a comprehensive review of your medical history, recent changes in health or routine, and a physical exam. To isolate the cause of sudden hair loss due to environmental shock may require a Trichoscopy (scalp biopsy analysis).

The findings will lead to one of the following diagnoses:

Anagen Effluvium

When your body experiences a traumatic and sudden environmental shock, it’s shaken on a cellular level. Hair cells within the follicle need to divide to grow, and this happens during the Anagen (growth) phase. When something foreign invades the body, such as chemotherapy or radiation, cells stop dividing, and as a result, hair sheds and falls out in large quantities. Anagen Effluvium, also known as Chemotherapy-Induced Alopecia, is a common side effect of cancer treatment.

Alopecia Universalis

Diets that emphasize severe calorie restriction, linear nutrition, or suddeA rare hair loss disorder that affects only one in 4,000 people and results in total and complete body and scalp hair loss. Alopecia Universalis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks cells, mistaking them for foreign invaders. Environmental triggers like stress and medical illness can activate complete and total hair loss across the scalp, face, and body.n and drastic changes to food intake can send the body into shock. One of the ways the body responds is by going into self-preservation mode. Instead of feeding the minimal supply of nutrients to the nutrient-dependent hair follicles, the body cuts funding and allocates nutrients to life-giving functions. In other words, the body encounters an environmental trigger to the sudden and abrupt deprivation of nutrients.

Sensitive Scalp Syndrome

Ongoing exposure to air pollutants (both inside and outside) can lead to Sensitive Scalp Syndrome. Airborne particles, smoke, and gases lead to scalp dryness, redness, and irritation. While exposure doesn’t guarantee a physiological reaction, it’s most common to people who encounter excessive dust, wind, smog, chemical fumes, or have recently relocated to a drastically different climate or geographical region. Patients with Sensitive Scalp Syndrome experience uncomfortable symptoms like itching, irritation, dandruff, diffuse thinning, and excessive shedding across the scalp.

HOW TO PREVENT ENVIRONMENTAL HAIR LOSS

It’s important to note that some environmental shocks are avoidable, while others may occur without warning and come as a blindside. Certain factors, such as diet, nutrition, and smoking cessation, can prevent environmental hair loss. Air pollution requires finesse to counterbalance and neutralize free radicals. Air purifiers, mold inspections, and minimal exposure to pollutants can reverse the effects of Sensitive Scalp Syndrome. Lastly, medical or cancer-related hair loss may be entirely unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean it’s lifelong. Most environmental triggers, such as chemotherapy and radiation, will only cause temporary hair loss. While the experience can be overwhelming, distressing, and emotionally intolerable, time will enable the hair follicles to stimulate growth again.

ENVIRONMENTAL HAIR LOSS TREATMENT

Once your doctor or dermatologist has isolated the environmental trigger and diagnosed the associated condition, you can begin treatment. Treatment options will vary case-by-case and according to the specific cause. 

Cosmetic Solutions

Cosmetic solutions are topical ointments, serums, and hair beauty products created to enhance the natural appearance of hair.

Popular cosmetic solutions for FPHL include:

• Hair loss from environmental shock can heal and re-stimulate growth with a low dose (2% or 5%) of Minoxidil.

• For air pollution, one study found that adding antioxidants to shampoo and massaging the scalp for 3-5 minutes twice a week helped to remove free radicals and pollutants from the scalp and hair. Nourishing the hair shaft and strands with coconut oil also stimulated hair to reenter the growth phase.

• If nutrition plays a role in environmental hair loss, a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, protein, and omega fatty acids can reinvigorate hair cells with vital growth nutrients. The addition of nutritional supplements can also expedite recovery.

Some forms of hair loss from environmental shock may take longer to treat, such as chemotherapy-induced hair loss. In the interim, Daniel Alain offers have effective cosmetic solutions to boost confidence, rebuild hair health, and empower you to fall in love with your hair again.